“The Point of Life is Happiness” – The Dalai Lama
I cup my hands and shake the dice
I’m hoping for a six to get me started on the board game.
I get a four and a one
No luck. I’ve no choice but to wait my turn to try again. In the board game of life, waiting is your choice entirely, and happiness is less about luck than it is about choice. In life, you don’t need to wait your turn or for circumstances to be right before you can be happy.
Happiness is a choice
As you perceive the world, you make choices as to how you feel about it.
So it’s your perception of reality that determines your state, not reality itself.
This is an important distinction.
Its important because some believe that their perception IS reality. To some degree, this is true because we all experience reality in different ways. That’s why you and others can have unique perceptions of a shared occurrence; perhaps even arguing about which perception is the truth. So if we’re all choosing and creating our reality, how do some people manage to put happiness on hold.
They make happiness conditional upon some external factor
People put off happiness by believing that some event will occur that will cause them to feel happy; they’ll be happy when they get the new house, car, job, win lotto, etc. Or they think that when they achieve a goal, they’ll be happy; get a degree, run a marathon, reach a goal weight.
But when they do achieve these things, happiness is fleeting at best.
And then they’re off, chasing the next bright, shiny object that they believe will make them happy. This constant chasing of happiness through external things or achievements is doomed to failure because happiness doesn’t come from outside.
Happiness is an inside job
The truth is that happiness comes from the inside out – not vice versa.
Happiness is a choice that is somewhat independent of our circumstances or situation in life.
We’ve all seen documentaries or know people who have very few material possessions but who manage to stay happy and vital. And we’ve heard or seen wealthy people who seem to have it all yet are miserable beyond measure. So it’s clear that happiness is not solely related to money or material possessions.
Happiness is about choice
You can choose to feel happy for no reason at all – or just because it feels better than the alternatives. When you choose happiness as a state of being, working towards those goals invokes a sense of joy and excitement in the doing. The result is inevitable – you reach the target and feel happy in the striving for it – not just at the momentary completion of it.
You can choose happiness
In trying times, choosing happiness moment by moment will focus your attention. It will remind you that you’re the one in control of your mind. And if you’re in control of your mind, then you’re also in control of your emotional state. Your emotional state drives your behaviour. And your behaviour determines your outcomes and achievements. So choosing to be happy also makes logical sense.
Realising you have control is key
When you make happiness about things outside of your being, you lose that control. And just like you really have no control of what numbers will show on the dice, your life becomes a game of luck and chance – with you always waiting your turn.
- You’re in control of your mind and also your state.
- Being happy is a choice.
- Striving for happiness through gaining external things or achievements will achieve only momentary happiness.
- When you choose to feel happy, striving for goals will give you a sense of joy.